Thursday, April 4, 2013

Agatha Christie's Golf Course Murder

The Agatha Christie Challenge:
A chance encounter on a train, but where will it lead? So begins Murder on the Links (1923). It was Agatha Christie's third published novel and the second one featuring Hercule Poirot and Arthur Hastings. Christie is still experimenting with plot and narrative techniques; yet, in this book, Christie's classic trademarks are present: the marginalized woman, thwarted love, and unexpected twists. And even though Christie is still developing the Poirot character, Poirot is more multifaceted than in The Mysterious Affair at StylesHe's funny, egocentric, compassionate, jealous, and petty. Likewise, Hastings is less a buffoon, and more the lonely heart in search of love. Women are also central to the narrative. Are they victims, murders, or possibly both?

It's not my favorite Poirot mystery, but it has clever dialogue (especially the banter between Poirot and Hastings) and a surprise ending. It's one of the few Christie books where I failed to guess the culprit. Overall, I enjoyed the book very much. It was fast paced, inventive, and spiced with humor. One criticism is the constant twists and turns. If anything, they were unnecessary distractions from the overall plot.

Rating: B+

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